The last 13 months have been quite the ordeal for Ayo Akinola.
The Toronto FC forward tore his ACL while on duty with the Canadian men's team last July in a game against the United States at the Concacaf Gold Cup, thus ruling him out for the rest of the MLS season. The injury cut short a promising league campaign for the highly-touted youngster before it had the chance to really get started, and the Reds sputtered to a 13th place finish in the Eastern Conference.
No athlete likes to suffer a major injury and be sidelined for any amount of time. But the lengthy layoff allowed Akinola, a 22-year-old from Brampton, Ont., to undergo some valuable introspection, and it changed the way he looked at himself and how he approached things on and off the pitch.